Working Mom Guilt


     Next week, my baby boy will be starting Pre-Kindergarten.  Normally, my husband attends such things as first days of school and parent teacher conferences without me.  You see, he works nights and, since I am a teacher, my job’s parent teacher conferences and first days of school coincide with my children’s.  I don’t really want to spend too much time dwelling on that because it is a sore and hurtfull subject for me.  Of course, I would love to attend every single event that involves my children.  However, it is not possible to provide my children with the kind of lifestyle that I never had growing up unless both of us work.

    Having said that, this year will be different.  This year I will be able to attend my son’s first day of Pre-K and his orientation and I couldn’t be happier.  Thankfully, this was possible because the public schools will be closed on September 9th and 10th for a Jewish holiday.  Since my boys attend parochial school, they will be starting school on those days and I will off from work and able to accompany them on their first days.  I cannot even begin to describe how wonderful I feel about that.  I’m actually considering documenting the event with my camera but, I’m not sure my boys will appreciate all the paparazzi.

    These are some of the small victories of a Working Mom.  We work so hard to provide for our children and give them everything and we sacrifice so much by way of not being able to attend every single important event in their lives and not being able to just be with our children all day.  As a result, every moment spent with our kids is precious.  In my case, I am luckier than most Working Moms because I am a teacher and, now that both of my boys will be attending school, my work schedule will pretty much be the same as their school schedule.

    That is not the case for all Working Moms.  All too often I see them pushing strollers up the stairs to the train platform so they could drop their babies off with babysitters while they go to work.  I see them walking towards the school in the evening to pick up their children from the after school programs that keep their children safe until they get out of work.  Mothers and fathers who both work taking turns and juggling schedules with each other to maximize on quality family time.  It is almost like a never ending cycle that I know all too well.

    Stay at Home Moms work really hard also.  They get to stay home with their children but they also make sacrifices in order to stay home and raise their children.  Many of them gave up brilliant careers to nurture their babies.  Others hardly ever get to see their spouses because their husbands have to take on two or three jobs to make up for the lost income of their wives staying home with the kids.  When it comes to raising and providing for our children, there is never an easy answer or an easy solution.

    Yes, I do feel guilty that I work full time and didn’t get to spend every moment home with my babies.  Will I ever apologize for it?  Never!  I’ve worked so my boys could have the very best of everything and I’ve made sure that any moment I’ve spent away from work was for my boys.  In the end, we as parents just want to do the best for our children so we can’t be wrong.  Plus, this time, I won a small victory and I will be walking my baby up the school steps right into his class for his very first day of school.  Life doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

© 2010, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. First and foremost, allow me to tell you what gorgeous boys you have. You are certainly lucky to have a career and a beautiful family.

    I can never have children so I'll never know what it's like to juggle all the things going on in your life. However, I can appreciate what you must be going through. My mother was a career woman and both my parents ran a business. Although my mother was never the domesticated type of person, my father was the one who ran the household. In the roles they played, they made home life beautiful for us kids and we had a fantastic family life. Never feel guilty about what you do if you know in your heart what you're doing is best for your family. There will always be sacrifices – but that's love. 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words about my boys and my family. It is really nice to see that you have fond memories of your childhood. This really gives me hope that my children will reflect positively on their childhoods and know that all of the sacrifices that their father and I made were in the interest of giving them the best life possible. You are absolutely right, making sacrifices is part of loving…

  3. Your pride in the boys really shines through. Both of my parents worked when I was growing up. I was very fortunate in that we lived with my grandmother, who was retired. She loved and cared for me during the day when my parents were at work. I never really missed my parents when they were off at work, though I was always so excited when they returned home. Honestly, I do not feel I was in any way deprived that my parents went off to work each morning. I feel that I was blessed to be able to spend so much quality time with my Gran. Lord, she has been dead 20 years now and I still miss her so much whenever I stop to think of her.

    What grade and subjects do you teach, Maria?

  4. Alan, you have no idea what a relief it is to hear you say that you do not feel that you were deprived, as a child, because both of your parents worked. Hopefully, my boys will feel the same way. I am extremely proud of my boys and of being their mother. I am truly blessed in that regard. I teach 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts although I am licensed to teach grades 5-12. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me and the rest of my readers.

  5. I have experienced working mom guilt many times. I always thought that I would be able to be there for all of my daughter's events and special moments. Unfortunately life sometimes throws you a curve ball and you have to make the necessary changes. You are very fortunate to be able to have the same schedule as your kids now. I am a restaurant manager and my hours are very sporadic. So I have to make sure to treasure each and every moment I get to spend with my little one. I just hope that she will appreciate the sacrifices that I have made for her and our family.

  6. Irene Gonzalez says

    Maria, I am one of those mothers you commented about, I too miss many of my kids school functions and experiences. I also am one of those mothers who rush out of work so I can pick my two youngest children from an After School Program, the irony is that I work in a school and in an After School Program and I miss my children terribly and feel guilt about not being able to attend plays, parties, trips…etc. I have thought many times of quitting my jobs, but I want to be someone my kids are proud of, and though at times I feel like I am disappointing them, I hope that when they are old enough they understand that everything I do and did was solely for them… we have so much in common… it's crazy. My husband also works nights and he often gets to go to school functions in my place and although I am grateful that atleast one of us is there I am sometimes jealous its him and not me.

  7. Irene, you are so right in pointing out the irony of our situations. We spend our days working with other people's children while, at the same time, wishing that we were with our own. I also hope that my children will understand that everything I have done was to benefit them. We do what we have to do, as parents, to provide the best possible life for our children. That is what keeps me going, in my heart I know what the sacrifices are for and there is some comfort in knowing that.

  8. Chanel, having the work schedule that I have certainly makes things a little easier because I am at work while the kids are in school. We all seem to feel sadness over having to sometimes miss special events in the lives of our children that we feel we should be there to witness. I think as long as we let our children know how much we love them and how proud we are of them, they will definitely know…Thank you so much for commenting.

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